6. A.P. Tureaud, Jr.
School: Louisiana State University
Discrimination and abject hatred would eventually force LSU's first black student to pursue an education elsewhere. A.P. Tureaud, Jr. enrolled at the school in 1953, becoming its first and only black undergrad after his family filed a lawsuit to gain him admittance into the school. In an interview with NPR, Tureaud called life in Baton Rouge "a challenge," which might just be the understatement of the century, at least in terms of the Civil Rights movement.
"When I got to LSU, I was miserable," Tureaud said. "The students wouldn't speak to me. I think someone had decided that if they totally isolated me I would leave."
Tureaud's classmates were apparently masters of torture, keeping him up at night with loud music and by banging on walls. When he walked into the showers, he said, everyone else walked out. Professors wouldn't even touch his papers. When, one day, a black man accompanied by his 7-year-old-son walked up to Tureaud and told him "I want him to meet you, because I want him to know that this is possible for him - to come to this school - thanks to you."
Rather than being flattered, Tureaud grew frustrated. "I said to him, 'You've just ruined my day! I want to get out, I want to get out - and now I can't,' because I became the symbol of integration." The harassment eventually got so bad that Tureaud departed for Xavier University in New Orleans, where he graduated in 1957 with a degree in education, and presumably less mental turmoil.